Kebab shop chilli sauce – takeaway style, authentic, no cook and as hot as you like.
A little goes a long way with this kebab shop chilli sauce; perfect for drizzling over grilled meat and chicken, dolloping on rice, or for perking up a bolognese or stew. It tastes just like the hotter than Hades sauce you get at your local takeaway, but it’s surprisingly easy to make with just 6 readily available ingredients. Plonk them into your blender and away you go.
We are fortunate that we actually have a proper Turkish Ocakbasi kebab house near to us, where meat is cooked over a charcoal fire; normally on kebab skewers but also lamb chops, chicken breast and similar cuts. It’s actually also our local doner kebab shop, but it’s a long way from living down to the dubious reputation that such a description might imply. The meat is simply but well cooked on the charcoal, and served with tasty unleavened bread, rice and salads. A dash of hot sauce like this one adds a bit of a kick to the meal, but we don’t have to just leave it to when we’re out.
I find that the real trick to a homemade kebab shop chilli sauce is actually not to overdo the heat. You could go mad, searching out the most ridiculously hot peppers you can source and create your own substitute for edible lava, but I prefer something that’s a little more nuanced. There are degrees of this, of course; it’s still a chilli sauce, but it does have a depth of flavour that comes from the secret ingredient: jarred mint sauce (which of course will go so well with grilled lamb).
Top Tip for Preparing Hot Chillies
A top tip when slicing the chillies wrap some cling film loosely round your fingers so your don’t touch them – even after washing your hands it is SO easy to rub your eyes and the pain is intense, even when taking out your contact lenses hours later. If you are chopping lots of chillies I would use a pair of latex gloves, but for the odd one cling film is ideal and a huge improvement on trying to chop up the chillies with a kitchen knife and fork; yes I have tried and failed with that, and I wish I’d thought of the cling film years ago.
Scotch bonnets are hot hot hot! Pick a different chilli if you prefer, or want more chilli flavour without the heat. I also try and use premium canned tomatoes, finding that the extra few pennies really make a difference, as the tomatoes will be altogether better – thicker, richer, sweeter, a better colour and far more intense.
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 tbs tomato puree
- 1 small Scotch bonnet chilli - chopped, seeds and membranes discarded
- 1 small onion - peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp mint sauce
- 1 tbs white wine vinegar
- 1 pinch salt to taste
Place all the ingredients into a blender and whizz. until almost smooth - I like some texture, but you want to really blitz up that chilli.
Season to taste with salt.
Avoid touching the chilli when preparing it - I wrap my fingers loosely in a piece of cling film. You can use a tablespoon fresh mint and add a little more vinegar or a squeeze of lemon, but the sauce will lose that authentic Kebab shop taste. Keeps for a week in the fridge. Leave for 24 hours before eating to allow the flavours to meld.
6 Facts about chillis
- Chilli heat is measured on the Scoville scale. The current hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper with over 1.5 million Scoville heat units is five hundred times hotter than tabasco sauce. A bell pepper has a rating of 1.
- The heat in chillis is from capsicum, concentrated in the seeds and membranes, discard or keep these according to how much heat you want.
- Chillis originated in the Americas, and are a member of the nightshade family along with potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and bell peppers.
- Chillis are a great source of vitamin C, with a higher concentration than oranges.
- The best way of counteracting the heat of a chilli is with milk. A cool beer might seem like a good idea, but a cold glass of milk does better against the heat.
- Chilli can be spelled either chilli or chili, depending which side of the Atlantic you are from.